‘Friends’ Co-Creator Marta Kauffman Called Fan’s Alternate Ending Idea, ‘The Saddest Thing I’ve Ever Heard’

Most Friends fans are happy with how the series ended.

They may think it dragged on for too long and that Joey and Rachel never should have dated. Still, they’re mostly fine with the last season. The final episode of the hit NBC series tied up almost everyone’s storyline — except for Joey’s — and gave them hopeful futures.

However, that didn’t stop Friends fans from speculating on what might have been. One particularly dark fan theory for an alternate ending started circulating on social media. The concept gained so much traction it even caused series co-creator Marta Kauffman to voice her opinion.

Phoebe was the most offbeat character on ‘Friends’

Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay on 'Friends'
Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay | David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images

Each of the six Friends castmates had different personalities. Some fans related most with Monica and her type-A, perfectionist outlook while others were more amenable to Chandler and his sarcasm. But no matter who viewers like the best, everyone agrees Phoebe is the quirkiest.

From the beginning, Phoebe feels the most like an outsider character thanks to how far away she lives and her very unique upbringing. Phoebe reveals that she was abandoned by her biological mother. Her adoptive mother died by suicide and Phoebe wound up homeless on the streets of New York by the age of 14.

Thanks to her background, Phoebe has so many shocking stories from her past. And it’s these anecdotes that inspired one fan to come up with a very disturbing alternate ending.

One fan theory for a ‘Friends’ alternate ending takes a dark turn

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Friends ended on an optimistic note for everyone. Even Phoebe gets married to Mike at the end with Joey officiating outside Central Perk. However, a UK fan had a different idea for Phoebe’s fate, and it was enough to make the series co-creator a little sad.

According to Cosmopolitan, the theory went like this:

“I’d have ended Friends by revealing it was all the meth-addled fantasy of a homeless Phoebe as she stared through the window of Central Perk,” they wrote. “All 10 seasons were merely her fevered imagination, projecting herself into the lives of the other 5. All she ever wanted was…Friends.”

They continued, “The final scene would be Phoebe walking away from Central Perk with the Ross, Rachel, Joey, Chandler, and Monica characters making a reference to ‘the crazy lady who always stares at us’… Finally she returns to the park where she sleeps in front of a fountain. A broken lamp stands next to her bench. It starts to rain. From behind, we see her put up six dirty but brightly colored umbrellas. Fade to black.”

Marta Kauffman reacted to the dark ‘Friends’ alternate ending

The Phoebe-focused alternate ending certainly isn’t the only one floating around the internet. But thanks to its depressing yet creative spin, this idea was enough to catch the attention of Kauffman. She confirmed this wasn’t even close to what she had in mind for ending the show.

The showrunner gave her opinion to ET Online at the 2017 ATX Television Festival. She said, “That’s the saddest thing I’ve ever heard!”

Then Kauffman confirmed she never could have conceived of something so terrible. “No, I never heard that – that’s a terrible theory. That’s insane!” she continued. “That’s, like, that’s like crazy alt-television theory. Wow!”

“I’m fascinated,” Kauffman concluded. “I just think that someone needs a life. Someone needs a life, that’s all I’m saying.”